Sports Democracy In Action

Ryan Berenz

Take a break from presidential primary politics and let your voice be heard in two sports fan polls running concurrently on the Interweb.

The Greatest Highlight With Chris Berman is an ESPN SportsCenter feature that’s been running for a while now. They took 100 historical sports highlights and winnowed them down to a Sweet 16. The 16 highlights will be matched in a tournament-style bracket until the Greatest Highlight (With Chris Berman!) will be announced on ESPN March 2, presumably by Chris Berman.

Taking a cue from’s SportsNation Coach Approval Ratings, sports blog Deadspin is running a daily Media Approval Rating poll in which fans can approve or disapprove of the work done by various members of the sports media. Each day features a different sportscaster, and it will go on until they get tired of it or run out of sportscasters, I guess. Of course, we’re very interested in seeing Chris Berman’s Deadspin approval rating, especially after the recent leak of his own dubious highlights.

See a rundown of the ESPN highlight tournament and the Deadspin sportscasters below. I’m posting my votes for each one, updating it daily. Since sharing is nice, give us your picks and opinions in the comments!

The Greatest Highlight With Chris Berman

(The highlight I voted for is in red.)

First Round

2/11: Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary vs. Miami (1984) Vs. Tiger Woods’ Masters Chip-In (2005)

2/12: Hank Aaron Passes Babe Ruth With Home Run (1974) Vs. Carlton Fisk World Series Home Run (1975)

2/13: Cal vs. Stanford “The Play” (1982) Vs. Christian Laettner’s Shot Beats Kentucky (1992)

2/14: Boise State Statue of Liberty Beats Oklahoma (2007) Vs. Michael Jordan’s Jumper Vs. Utah (1998)

2/15: Kirk Gibson’s HR in 1998 World Series Vs. Larry Bird’s Steal And Pass To Dennis Johnson (1987)

2/16: Mike Eruzione’s Goal Vs. USSR In 1980 Olympics Vs. Lynn Swann’s Acrobatic Catch In Super Bowl (1976)

2/17: Babe Ruth Calls Shot In 1932 World Series Vs. Willie Mays’ Catch In 1954 World Series

2/18: Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception (1972) Vs. Bill Buckner’s Error In 1986 World Series

Second Round

2/19: Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary vs. Miami (1984) Vs. Hank Aaron Passes Babe Ruth With Home Run (1974)

2/20: Cal vs. Stanford “The Play” (1982) Vs. Boise State Statue of Liberty Beats Oklahoma (2007)

2/21: Mike Eruzione’s Goal Vs. USSR In 1980 Olympics Vs. Kirk Gibson’s HR in 1998 World Series

2/22: Willie Mays’ Catch In 1954 World Series Vs. Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception (1972)

Third Round

2/24: Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary vs. Miami (1984) Vs. Boise State Statue of Liberty Beats Oklahoma (2007)

2/25: Mike Eruzione’s Goal Vs. USSR In 1980 Olympics Vs. Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception (1972)

Final Round

2/26: Mike Eruzione’s Goal Vs. USSR In 1980 Olympics Vs. Boise State Statue of Liberty Beats Oklahoma

Winner: Mike Eruzione’s goal wins with 59 percent of the vote. I’m a little curious as to who could think Boise State’s Statue of Liberty play from a pretty meaningless college football bowl game from last year is a bigger, more important highlight than the historic Miracle On Ice. I’m shocked it even made the final eight. It wasn’t even the best play of that game, much less one of the top 10 highlights of the past 25 years. Maybe Idaho was stuffing the ballot box. Maybe I’m just old and out of touch.

Deadspin Media Approval Ratings

(Thanks to, you can see the entire Deadspin Media Approval Ratings leaderboard.)

2/11: Troy Aikman, FOX NFL analyst: Approve

2/12: Jim Gray, ESPN NBA/Westwood One radio reporter: Disapprove

2/13: Chris Mortensen, ESPN NFL reporter: Approve

2/14: Greg Gumbel, CBS Sports studio host: Approve

2/15: Linda Cohn, ESPN SportsCenter anchor/WNBA announcer: Approve

2/18: James Brown, CBS Sports NFL studio host: Approve

2/19: Doug Gottlieb, ESPN Radio host/college basketball analyst: Abstain. We really don’t listen to enough any ESPN Radio to fairly judge Gottlieb’s work.

2/20: Scott Van Pelt, Desperately Lonely ESPN SportsCenter Anchor: Approve

2/21: Brent Musberger, ESPN/ABC College Football/Auto Racing Announcer: Approve

2/22: Billy Packer, CBS College Basketball Analyst: Disapprove. (Personally, Packer doesn’t bother me much as an analyst. But he’s just such a nasty old curmudgeon.)

2/25: Gus Johnson, CBS College Basketball Announcer: APPROOOOOVE!!!

2/26: Erin Andrews, ESPN Sideline Reporter: Approve, I suppose.

2/27: Cris Carter, new ESPN NFL Analyst: Disapprove

3/4: Lee Corso, ESPN College Football Studio Analyst: Approve, if only for the “Lee Corso Is A Penis!” signs during College GameDay.

3/5: Trey Wingo, ESPN NFL Live host/SportsCenter Anchor: Approve

3/6: Bob Costas, NBC NFL/Olympics Studio Host: Approve

3/7: Mike Patrick, ESPN College Football Announcer: Approve

3/10: Tim Kurkjian, ESPN MLB Reporter: Approve

3/11: Bill Raftery, ESPN/CBS College Basketball Analyst: Approve

3/12: Joe Buck, FOX NFL/MLB Play-By-Play Announcer: Approve. I know many will find this a disgusting act, but Buck doesn’t bother me much.

3/13: Al Michaels, NBC NFL Play-By-Play Announcer: Approve, weighted heavily on past performance.

3/14: Jim Nantz, CBS College Basketball/NFL/PGA Tour Announcer: Approve

3/17: Dick Vitale, ESPN College Basketball Analyst: Disapprove

3/18: Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press columnist/Schmaltzy Novelist/Occasional Sports Reporters Panelist: Disapprove

3/19: Mike Tirico, ESPN NFL/NBA Play-By-Play Announcer: Approve

3/20: Vin Scully, L.A. Dodgers Play-By-Play Announcer: Approve

3/21: Buster Olney, ESPN MLB Reporter: Approve

3/24: Stuart Scott, ESPN SportsCenter Anchor/Studio Host: Disapprove

3/25: Steve Phillips, ESPN MLB Analyst: Abstain

3/26: Kenny Mayne, Works For ESPN In Some Capacity. We’re Not Even Sure Anymore: Disapprove

3/27: Jim Rome, Host Of ESPN’s “Jim Rome Is Burning”: Approve. With Rome, you always know what you’re going to get: Smack!

3/28: Pat Summerall, (mostly) retired NFL Play-By-Play Announcer: Approve. Even when he was slipping as an announcer, it was worth listening to him just for the wackiness.

3/31: Rick Reilly, former Sports Illustrated columnist: Disapprove

4/1: John Buccigross, ESPN SportsCenter Anchor: Approve

4/2: Mike Lupica, New York Daily News Columnist, Occasional ESPN Sports Reporters Panelist: Disapprove

4/3: Craig Sager, TNT NBA Sideline Reporter: Approve

4/4: Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman, Sports Illustrated NFL Columnist: Approve

4/7: Digger Phelps, ESPN College Basketball Analyst: Approve

4/8: Rachel Nichols, ESPN E:60 Reporter: Approve

4/9: Tiki Barber, NBC NFL Studio Analyst/Today Show Correspondent: Disapprove

4/10: Charles Barkley, TNT NBA Studio Analyst: Approve

4/11: Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated Baseball Writer: Approve

4/14: “Sports Guy” Bill Simmons, Page 2 Columnist: Approve

4/15: Joe Morgan, ESPN MLB Analyst: Disapprove. Seriously, I’ve made lots of attempts to like Morgan. I just don’t feel he offers me anything of value during a telecast.

4/16: Rob Neyer, Baseball Writer/ Columnist: Abstain

4/17: Kenny Smith, TNT NBA Studio Analyst: Approve

4/18: Dan Le Batard, Miami Herald Columnist/Radio Show Host: Disapprove

4/21: Bob Ley, ESPN SportsCenter Anchor/Outside The Lines Host: Approve

4/22: Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN NFL Draft Expert: Approve

4/23: Tom Jackson, ESPN NFL Studio Analyst: Approve

4/24: Ernie Johnson, TNT NBA Studio Host: Approve

4/25: Pam Oliver, NFL On FOX Sideline Reporter: Approve

4/28: Michael Wilbon, Washington Post Columnist/ESPN Pardon the Interruption Cohost: Approve

4/29: Jason Whitlock, Kansas City Star/ Columnist: Approve

5/1: Dan Patrick, Sports Illustrated Columnist/Radio Show Host: Disapprove. I know that Patrick is almost universally liked. Maybe it’s because he did one too many sub sandwich commercials, but Patrick’s work just never lived up to his reputation in my opinion.

5/2: John Salley, FSN Best Damn Sports Show Period Cohost: Approve

5/5: Jay Mariotti, Chicago Sun Times Columnist/ESPN Around The Horn Panelist: By disapproving of Mariotti, are we just making him more famous? We’ll take that chance. Disapprove.

5/6: Norman Chad, ESPN Poker Analyst/The Couch Slouch: Approve

5/7: John Kruk, ESPN Baseball Studio Analyst: Approve

5/8: John Madden, NBC NFL Analyst: Disapprove

5/9: Tony Reali, ESPN Around the Horn Host: Disapprove. All points he earns for being “Stat Boy” on PTI he loses for hosting Around the Horn.

5/12: Peter King, Sports Illustrated NFL Writer/NBC Football Night In America Contributor: Disapprove

5/13: Emmitt Smith, ESPN NFL Studio Analyst/Former Dancing With The Stars Champ/Former Arizona Cardinal: Disapprove

5/14: Jayson Stark, Senior Baseball Writer: Approve. (Too bad. We were on a nice disapproval streak there.)

5/15: John Clayton, ESPN NFL Reporter: Approve

5/16: Woody Paige, ESPN Around The Horn Panelist/Dog Food Connoisseur: Disapprove

5/19: Chris Berman, ESPN NFL Studio Host (Among Other Duties): Disapprove

5/20: Tim McCarver, FOX MLB Analyst: Disapprove

5/21: Mike Breen, ABC/ESPN NBA Play-By-Play Announcer: Approve

5/22: Charissa Thompson, FSN Best Damn Sports Show Period Cohost/FOX NFL Sideline Reporter: Abstain, for now. We’re hoping to get to know Charissa more. I suspect we’ll approve.

5/27: Marv Albert, TNT NBA Play-By-Play/Westwood One Radio NFL Play-By-Play Announcer: Approve

5/28: Keith Olbermann, Host Of MSNBC’s Countdown With Keith Olbermann/NBC Football Night In America Contributor: Disapprove

5/29: Peter Gammons, ESPN MLB Reporter: Approve

5/30: Colin “Schrutebag” Cowherd, ESPN Radio: Disapprove

6/2: Stephen A. Smith, ESPN NBA Studio Analyst And Lover Of Cheesy Doodles: Approve. Everything he says is important!

6/3: Chris Myers, FOX Sports NASCAR Host/FOX Sports Radio Host: Approve

6/4: Beano Cook, ESPN College Football Analyst: Approve. Hasn’t he suffered enough?

6/5: Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated Contributor/HBO Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel Correspondent: Approve. Deford was one of my favorite interviews.

6/6: Gregg Doyel, CBS Columnist: Abstain

6/9: Skip Bayless, ESPN 1st And 10 Commentator: Disapprove

6/10: Jay Bilas, ESPN College Basketball Analyst: Approve

6/12: Gregg Easterbrook, Tuesday Morning Quarterback Writer: Abstain

6/13: Jeff Van Gundy, ESPN NBA Analyst: Approve

6/16: Bill Walton, ESPN NBA Analyst: Approve

6/17: Bill Plaschke, L.A. Times Columnist/ESPN Around The Horn Contributor: Abstain

6/18: David Aldridge, Philadelphia Inquirer Reporter And Columnist/TNT NBA Reporter: Abstain

(Sorry, Deadspin’s been skimming from the bottom a little bit too much lately.)

6/19: John Feinstein, Sports Author (A Season On The Brink): Abstain. I think I got a copy of A Season on the Brink somewhere and I gave it away without reading it. I know it sounds like blasphemy for a sportswriter to say this, but let’s face it: Most sports books suck.

6/20: Jeremy Schaap, ESPN E:60 Reporter: Approve

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About Ryan Berenz 1938 Articles
Devotee of Star Wars. Builder of LEGO. Observer of televised sports. Member of the Television Critics Association. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Connoisseur of beer. Consumer of cheese. Father of two. Husband of one. Scourge of the Alaskan Bush People. Font of Simpsons knowledge. Son of a Stonecutter.